ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0234.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; virions mass balance; spatial modelling of toxics concentrations; human exposure to airborne substances; Substance Flow Analysis (SFA); environmental routes of toxic viruses; primary production of SARS-2 virions
Online: 17 May 2022 (14:19:43 CEST)
Measures in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic were based on rough ideas regarding transmission routes of pathogens. Quantified models of physical transmission routes are mostly lacking, a gap to be filled. Vaccines and medicines, important, are not studied here. We first survey main routes, from primary production in the alveoli and intestines to emissions, environmental routes, to exposure and alveolar infection. Next, specific routes are modelled, mostly at a preliminary state, open to systematic improvement. Starting from a standardized emitter, modelling results show extreme differences in potential exposure, in a range covering up to 4 orders of magnitude. The outcomes are pathogen-specific, already different between SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. Extreme exposures may result in smaller spaces; with lower ventilation rates; with a high density of emitting persons per m3; who stay there for several hours; and visitors staying more than a few minutes. In spaces where a build-up of concentrations is low, exposures are low, lowest in open air situations. A main conclusion for the next pandemic is that a quantified model can give strong guidance on where measures are primarily due. For SARS-CoV-2, ventilation can be improved short-term. Longer-term, effective ventilation rules and adaptation of buildings may reduce high exposures substantially.